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View Full Version : Brakes give out


eggroll
04-24-2008, 07:02 PM
I have a 2006 Sprinter Legend 2500 with the Great West Van RV package that I use to pull/launch a 20' pontoon (~3500 lbs). On three occassions, but not every time I've done it, I've had the brakes give out when backing down a ramp to launch the boat. I had my foot jammed to the floor on the brake but I was still rolling backward and could feel what I think were the anti-lock brakes pulsing. Needless to say this scared the crap out of me when it happened so I've been hesitant to launch since then. Granted the ramp has a decent decline compared to others I've used but certainly nothing unreasonable.

I brought the van into an authorized dealer to check the brakes and after charging me $145 they said everything was fine and quoted from the service ticket - "PERFORM REAR SERVICE; LININGS GOOD; HOLD ON RAMP ONLY CAPABLE TO 700 LBS TOTAL". Even though I'm not a mechanic I know that my vehicle has a 5000 lb towing capacity so I lost all confidence in this dealer when they gave me their assessment.

Before I bring the van to a different authorized dealer I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem or has any information that I might be able to give the service department about what might be wrong.

thanks,
robin

BaywoodBill
05-03-2008, 06:56 PM
Hi eggroll,

No, I've had no such problem. Don't have any backing/with trailer/boat experience in the Sprinter. However, I didn't want to leave your post with no sort of answer, so here it is.

Were you ever able to make it stop while backing on that ramp? How did you recover from the situation?

mgjessop
05-03-2008, 08:25 PM
I have towed my 30ft travel trailer with my sprinter... Loaded it over 200 gallons of water gear and food it was over 7000lbs... I was at a camp site that I first had to back down a steep hill in order to put the trailer on a level pad... I forgot that I unhooked my the trailer lights which also controls the trailer brakes... When I went down the hill in reverse I hit the brakes and the front wheels started to lock and slide... ABS was going crazy, but it did stop me and my 7000lbs on about 15% grade... I do have a 3500, maybe the extra wheels helped with stopping, but someting seems wrong, you should be able to lock your brakes up, and if you are being pulled down the ramp your abs will go on like crazy.... One Test you can do is this... First make sure you are alone and in area where you won't hurt yourself or the van... Put in reverse get up to about 20-25mph and hit the brakes as hard as you can... You should have the abs system engage and come to a nice head smashing stop... If you don't come to a sudden stop, there probably is a issue with the abs...

abittenbinder
05-03-2008, 08:36 PM
I do not believe your brakes "gave out". You most likely did feel the ABS pulsating and I suspect you were somewhat sliding down that ramp with minimal tire traction because of combined weight of vehicle, boat and trailer as well as the slopes affect on tongue weight action.

Once boat was unloaded you had less total weight and sufficient traction (with possible help from ASR) to climb back up- the upward slope allowing weight transfer to your rear driving wheels. Doktor A

eggroll
05-05-2008, 01:30 PM
Hi eggroll,

No, I've had no such problem. Don't have any backing/with trailer/boat experience in the Sprinter. However, I didn't want to leave your post with no sort of answer, so here it is.

Were you ever able to make it stop while backing on that ramp? How did you recover from the situation?

Yes, there have been instances when I was able to stop normally. The problem is that the situation is intermittent and I can't pick out anything different in the couple of times where it did versus didn't happen. The way I "recovered" from the situation is that the trailer hit the water and took the weight off the Sprinter.

mgjessop
05-05-2008, 07:14 PM
Have you check you brake fluid level... Maybe there is air in the line and the incline isn't helping things...